REAL POWER: MAXING OUT ON GOD'S LOVE
PRAYER IS THE ULTIMATE REALITY CHECK
Prayer is the ultimate reality
check. You can fool some of the people some of the time. You can
fool yourself some of the time. You can never fool God.
Prayer is a place you go to find out
how you are doing. If you are getting into trouble, you can probably
get straightened out during prayer.
You bring many problems on yourself.
So many mistakes seem like a good idea at the time. A scripture says,
ďThere is a way that seems right unto a man, but the ends thereof are
death.Ē Those words summarize the disasters of countless lives. When
your hormones are talking, there is a way that seems right unto a
man. When you are consumed by greed, there is a way that seems right
unto a man. When you want something that you cannot afford, there is
a way that seems right unto a man. The way that seems right gets you
into trouble again and again. You need a periodic reality check if
you want to avoid the way that seems right, and prayer is that reality
Prayer clarifies your vision. Prayer
isnít asking for a miracle or trying to make your problems disappear.
You pray to discover the way things actually are so you donít fool
yourself and follow the way that seems right, but ends in disaster.
ALIGN YOURSELF WITH GODíS PLAN FOR
Go out in a boat and toss a line to
shore. After the line is made fast to shore, pull on the line. When
you do this, you donít pull the shore to the boat. Instead, you pull
the boat to shore. Thatís the way it works with prayer. When you
pull on the rope connecting you to God, you donít pull God to your way
of doing things. You pull yourself to his way of doing things.
Prayer is the way you align yourself with Godís program for your life.
Most of the time when people pray,
they ask God to help them escape from trouble or to get something they
want. While there is nothing wrong with praying when you are in
difficulty, you would be better off if you would pray in a manner that
would prevent you from getting into trouble in the first place.
Prayer keeps you from taking the way that seems right, but that ends
PRAYER DOES NOT CHANGE GOD Ė PRAYER
Once you are in trouble, prayer wonít
change God. However, prayer will change you. When you stop trying to
make God solve your problems, and get on with the business of finding
out what He wants you to do about them, you have discovered what
prayer is all about. The purpose of prayer isnít to change God. Itís
to change you. You need to pray until you have done an ultimate
reality check and found out where you are and where you need to be
You donít need to get God aligned
with your program for life. You need to get yourself aligned with his
program. Spirituality is a personal matter. God has an agenda and
direction for your life that no one else knows. Nobody can talk to
God and find out his plan for you. That is your unique privilege, and
it forms the core of your lifeís adventure with God.
Some people carry an enormous burden
of false beliefs about themselves and about their unlimited potential
for excellence. They continually focus on their limitations rather
than on their possibilities.
Prayer helps them detect and
eliminate harmful false beliefs. They step higher and run faster
without those burdens. They discover the truth that sets them free.
GOING ONE ON ONE WITH GOD
Prayer must have been supremely
important to Jesus, because he spent so many nights in prayer. The
record shows that Jesus went into the desert to pray. He didnít spend
his nights praying in the synagogue, nor did he hold long public
prayer meetings. Most of his public prayers are exceedingly short and
to the point. Most of his private prayer sessions are long, and the
subjects of the prayer are unknown.
Jesus would go into the desert and
spend the night in prayer. Although we donít know if he prayed for
the entire night, we do know that when he came out of the desert he
was full of wisdom and power.
The desert is a superb location for
prayer. There is no noise from the streets and no distractions from
the activities of daily life. No one is around to observe what you
are doing, so there is no affectation or role playing. You donít need
to impress anyone with how well you pray or how spiritual you are.
You donít need to adopt any special vocabulary.
The desert is an area of unadorned
natural beauty without distractions. Itís a place where you stop
trying to fool others and yourself. You are one on one with God, and
you have an ultimate reality check.
The silence in the desert lends
itself to meditation and communion with God. For people who live in
developed countries, itís difficult to find a location without
distractions where you can do your ultimate reality check. When you
are in your house in familiar surroundings, your mind easily turns in
the direction of everything that you have in your life. All of your
accumulations and accomplishments are within an easy armís reach.
When so many things surrounding you, you may start asking God for more
things rather than for clear vision and spiritual direction. Itís
easy for your prayers to degenerate into a wish list which only clouds
your vision further.
The stark austerity of the desert
separates you from all of the things that complicate your life. You
donít need more things. You need to clarify your vision and find out
where your beliefs and actions are taking you. You need an ultimate
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